EXCLUSIVE: When students accuse peers, staff of discrimination with bias reporting tools

Under the Freedom of Information Act, Campus Reform obtained responses to university bias reporting tools over the last three years at two higher education institutions.

A parent submitted a report about a student's online activity, the investigation found.

Many universities utilize bias reporting tools to allow students, faculty, and staff to report on one another for alleged instances of discrimination. 

Campus Reform obtained such reports using Freedom on Information Act requests from Evergreen State College and Georgia State University. 

Below is a look at how students, parents, and staff utilize these tools.  

Evergreen State College

This Washington college has a bias reporting tool called BRIT, the Bias Incident Response Team. 

In 2018 the president of an unnamed LGTBQ advocacy club reported the Director of Student Activities to the BRIT, claiming the Office of Student Activities “negatively affected the club, its ability to assemble, and their for [sic] preventing it from being able to help/serve the students in need.”

When referring to an earlier email she had sent the Office of Student Activities, the student says “this was the sole fault of the heteronormative/cisnormative society and that it was completely inappropriate for anyone (especially individuals that say they care about us) to ask my members to fix a problem that they did not create.”

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“I then went to add that the college needs to stop hiding behind bureaucracy if they truly care about us,” the Apr. 10 student report stated. 

The report explains that the student also planned to file a lawsuit against the Office of Student Activities for these same reasons, and asked the university to pay for the lawsuit.

“Additionally I informed her that the [sic] will be suing the office of student activities for their continued interference with the club. I then emailed the S&A board and asked for emergency funding that we could use to fund our lawsuit,” the text read. 

Another 2018 report was filed May 2 by a Coordinator for the Evergreen State Trans and Queer Center. The coordinator submitted the report on behalf of a trans student for an alleged incident of bias “in regards to gender, gender expression, and perceived gender.”

Without going into detail about the situation, the coordinator says “at no point is it appropriate for a student to need to explain their gender and/or gender identity in order to access the education that they are paying for - it is neither affirming nor welcoming, especially for transgender students.”

“I would like to point out that, cisgender students do not face this kind of questioning about their gender identity - and transgender students shouldn’t either,” she reported. 

Georgia State University

In 2018, a member of the Patherns for Black Feminism reported her fellow Black student club, the Black Student Alliance, for alleged “Queerphobia.”

According to the Dec. 13 report, a member of the BSA said “gay people impede the black family.” 

The report notes that the member in question had already been removed from his or her position, but the student still filed a report against BSA “so they are held accountable and so they can be an open space for all black people.”

In 2021, a parent of a student submitted a report March 6 that outlines concerns about another student’s personal social media accounts. 

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“I don’t feel comfortable letting my children go to your school with people like this,” the parent in the report wrote. “People with so much hate in their heart toward a group of people because they are different and then have the guts to show their face and say it aloud to the public to see who agrees with their ideologies as well.”

The student “has become an influencer of this so called ‘super-straight’ organization which akins to the same degrading qualities of groups such as all lives matter or blue lives matter groups and how they are destructive to predecessor and much more important and qualitative groups such as BLM or LGTBQ,” the report continued. 

Campus Reform contacted all of the universities listed in this article for a comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

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